RDCA II, 17: Celebration Of The Eucharist

They are logical points, but three important aspects of the connection between the dedication rituals and the celebration of the Eucharist:

17. After the altar had been prepared, the bishop celebrates the eucharist, the principal and the most ancient part of the whole rite, (See Pope Vigilius, Epistula ad Profuturum episcopum 4: PL 84, 832) because the celebration of the eucharist is in the closest harmony with the rite of the dedication of a church: 

  • For the celebration of the eucharistic sacrifice achieves the end for which the church was built and the altar erected and expresses this end by particularly clear signs.
  • Furthermore, the eucharist, which sanctifies the hearts of those who receive it, in a sense consecrates the altar and the place of celebration, as the ancient Fathers of the Church often assert: ‘This altar should be an object of awe: by nature it is stone, but it is made holy when it receives the body of Christ.’(John Chrysostom, Homilia 20 in 2 Cor 3: PG 61, 540.)
  • Finally, the bond closely connecting the dedication of a church with the celebration of the eucharist is likewise evident from the fact that the Mass for the dedication has its own preface, which is a central part of the rite itself.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Rite of Dedication of a Church and an Altar, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to RDCA II, 17: Celebration Of The Eucharist

  1. Liam says:

    Prefaces are typically very interesting in ritual contexts: they often act to distill the theology of the ritual actions.

    It seems that the, before 1962, there was no universal preface for the dedication of a church; in 1962, such a preface was included among the five so-called Gallican prefaces that were then added to the Roman Missal, part of the foreshadowing of the great expansion of prefaces in the postconciliar Missal.

    There are two version of the preface, the first for the dedication of a church and the second for that of an altar. Here’s the first:


    The other may be found within this:


  2. An interesting point about prefaces Liam, especially in relation to the dedication of a church. Originally the Rite did not have a specific Prayer for Dedication, the Preface was envisioned as giving a text to the ritual actions. When the ritual was finally published it was decided in accordance with long standing tradition that an actual prayer of dedication was desirable.

    There are actually 3 different prayers for the dedication of a church. One for a church were sacred mysteries have not been celebrated, one where they have been, one for use on the anniversary of the dedication found in the commons. Then there is the separate preface for the dedication of an altar. Relating to the preface there are also proper texts the are inserted into Eucharistic Prayers I or III.

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